29 March 2010

A New Sunday Ritual

In an earlier post (Sunday Night Cooking), I told you that we, the Hubby and I, are cooking together on Sunday nights.
Well, I also am doing something else on Sundays, or rather NOT doing. I dedicated this day to the family and am 'fasting' from any electronic stuff like TV and computer. So on Sundays, I am not blogging, I am not checking and answering emails, and I am not watching any TV, whatsoever. So far, it has been easy. In the morning, we go to church, then lunch and then rest time. Sometimes, we go out in the afternoon; like this weekend, we went for some super good ice cream. And then we cook together, and eat and put the kids to bed. It is a little harder NOT put on the TV once the kids are in bed, but the temptation is not the great these days, as there is only junk on there anyway! Right?

So what do I do? I usually read, do my homework for the bible study I am currently attending, and just talk to my husband. During the week with him at work and with the kids surrounding us and keeping us busy, it is hard to have a real adult conversation. So we can talk on Sunday nights. NO, this is not our only time, but it is more intimate when the TV is not making noise in the background. So in the last three weeks, I have finished three books that I had started a long time ago and seemed never to be able to finish it. I am also planning to have a monthly book report - kind of just for myself and for those that are interested in books. I love books. And I can sew!

25 March 2010

What does friendship mean to you?

Today, I want to be philosophical. What do friendships mean to you?

God says there is a season for everything. There are even seasonal friends. So we have lifetime friends, and friends that are only there for a period of time, a year, a couple of months or maybe we get lucky and it is a couple of years. Nonetheless, the departure of a friend hurts. Sometimes we don't realize that they are gone until it is done and finished. Sometimes, we fight and it is over in a heartbeat.
Nonetheless, it hurts.

Then there are friendships where we ask ourselves why we are friends with that certain somebody - thinking that we have almost nothing in common. I mean with friends that are almost our identical twins, we don't even ask ourselves this question. I think, one doesn't have to be the other person's soul mate in order to teach us something. We can learn from each other no matter what. Doesn't it all come down to respect each other rather than tear us apart because we are different? I married my best friend, so that is covered. Now I can relax with all my other friendships. And instead of looking for all the things we don't have in common, I look for the things that I can learn from that other person because we are different!

A Hasidic quote says: "One who looks for a friend without faults will have none."
Well, I don't want to be the one with NO friends!

A Jewish Saying goes as follows: "Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure." Oh, how true that is. I have gone through many, sometimes I think too many, friendships and every time I thought that it will last for a lifetime. But unfortunately, it did not. And sometimes I really wondered why it did not last!?! Was it my fault? Or the other person's? Or was it just meant to be that way? Ralph Waldo Emerson said that "The only way to have a friend is to be one.". So what does that mean? When I was younger, I really suffered when a relationship went bad. With time (and aging?) I learned to deal with it better. Then I learned about God's way at looking at things, and it makes it so much easier. It makes it easier to let go because maybe that person would have really hurt us one day, and in just loosing track of each other avoids us from really getting hurt. And it is easier because there will be new people and new friends to get to know....

Whatever happens, we changed because of someone that shared a piece of our walk in life. An anonymous saying goes like this: "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same." So my heart is filled with small footprints and big dinosaur ones! I have come to understand that a friend is a gift even for a short time.

And Euripides said in 408 B.C. that "Friends show their love in times of trouble". So the last couple of weeks have been pretty touch for me. But yesterday, I found out that there are people still thinking of me, praying for me and just offering help. Three people came to me and made my day by encouraging me that this is just a phase and it will pass. By telling me that they love me. By offering help. And by offering an ear to vent. So thank you. I feel loved. And I am not that desperate any more.

22 March 2010

Funny things Coqui says

For the last two days, I have tried to remember the funny things Coqui said, in order to share it and for memory. Here it is:

1) He keeps saying: "When I'm a real boy then...." It makes me laugh out loud. Because all I envision is Pinocchio saying "I'm a real boy." and his nose getting longer and longer. Too funny.

2) We try to teach him that he needs to be gentle with the baby and that he, as the big brother, needs to protect her. So recently, the Hubby asked him what he is protecting her from, and he said: "The rain, Daddy." Well, of course!

I know it's not alot, at first, but I am planning on adding as we go along.

19 March 2010

Turning Night into Day

For about two weeks now, Peanut has a hard time to either fall asleep at night or to stay asleep at night. Last night, she woke up at around 3:30 am and was WIDE awake. There was NO way of her going back to sleep on her own. Even rocking didn't help much - and remember, I said I will NEVER rock her to sleep, right? Well, nothing helped for a long while..... I started to get so frustrated!
After about an hour, or so, I think she fell asleep on me in the rocking chair. And I fell asleep as well. I must have woken up later, was able to put her in her bed and went to sleep on the couch upstairs, as my bed was taken by my son....
She slept until 7:30 am - that is pretty normal. She was always a good sleeper in the morning. Not like Coqui....

What is the matter with her at night? (btw, I secretly call her my nightowl!!!)

Now, on the other hand, what is the matter with Coqui??? The child that used to wake up at around 5 or 5:30 am and was ready to rule the day..... About a year and a half ago, it changed to about 6:30 am. Much better! In the last year or so, he started to sleep until about 7 am. Woohoo!
Now this morning, he slept until 10 am!!! Yes, you are reading right! I kept checking my bed if he was still alive! No, just really deep asleep! Yesterday, it was 8:30 am. I am sure for some families, this is normal, see for us, it is not! So what is wrong? Is he simply growing? Or maybe sick? Not sick enough for feeling sick during the day (as he runs around like normal!), but maybe an underlying sick that his body is fighting?
I am not sure what it is! And I haven't made up my mind about being happy that he sleeps so long now, or just worried that something might be wrong....

18 March 2010

Sleep habits

Okay, here is something that I am learning having now two children.... they are completely different in so many ways!!! I know, most of you are laughing now, having more than two children..... well, I am not there yet.

Coqui was, and I guess still is, a very light sleeper. On top of that, he is very active. So it was hard for him to calm down in order to fall asleep. When we did the sleep training with Coqui, I had no sound machine - I guess the idea had to grow on me. So we stayed in his room at first, and then eventually moved out of the room when he could stand in his bed and see us. Eventually, he learned how to fall asleep. And after three years, he is so easy now!

With Peanut, I never really did the sleep training. I just knew one thing: NOT to rock her to sleep ever! Most of the time, she is easy enough to put to sleep in simply putting her down in her bed. And she would fall asleep by herself. I thought, wow, this is great. Of course, I used a sound machine right away. Now here comes the thing with her that totally baffles me: she loves noises!!! The more the better. Her room is right next to the laundry room. And with Coqui, I could never do laundry. Now with her, she likes it. She seems to be teething right now, so she was not quite ready for her nap this morning. So I just put the wash machine on (I have done so before). The water running into it puts her to sleep! It's amazing. Totally cool.

Now I just have to get her to take longer naps - it is still a hit or miss. Morning naps are about half an hour. But after lunch time, she sleeps just half an hour as well, sometimes only more than that..... and we are not talking about the afternoon nap, because that is still all over the place. So I guess with her, I don't have to work so much on the 'putting-herself-to-sleep' than the 'staying-asleep'.....

15 March 2010

Potty training - or not!

Well, a while back I wrote about Peanut going potty - that was a good thing. But I have run into a problem....

She found a new way of going potty!!!

These days, whenever I put her in the ExerSaucer, she is doing her business there. It can be only once a day, or two, or even three times a day. I put her in, she goes. It doesn't matter.
And yes, I have been smart, I did not put her in at all.... well, guess what? She is not going! What is this? Revolution by a six months old???

What can I do?

13 March 2010

Teething? - again?

Today, just a few words!

Because I am actually tired! I have had no energy all day, no motivation, and tonight, my sweet little girl had another screaming session..... she was tired, I know that for a fact! But when I put her down for nighttime, she didn't go to sleep. First, she was just fuzzing a little, but that soon turned into crying and then just pure screaming. Nothing worked: rocking her (which I usually NEVER do because I learned my lesson with Coqui!), talking to her, or just letting her scream it out.... After an hour, I broke.... and brought her downstairs - the first time I am trying this. She started out with just laying her on my shoulder, then to smile and then to 'flirt' with the Hubby. Then she lifted her head and started playing with her binky - yes, she is still using one.... I simply knew there was no way of her going to sleep at this point.
So we waited patiently for about half an hour, then I brought her back upstairs. And believe it or not, she fell asleep within 4 minutes, me rocking her. Yeah....
Now I think I hear my bed calling.... Good Night.

PS: during this process, I looked at the Hubby and said: "Thank goodness she is our second child, because if she would have been number One, there would be no number Two." Of course, now, I think a little different, but I am not sure how many more kids we'll have after this....

12 March 2010

Where should I be?

Yesterday, I wrote about finding out what God's purpose is for my life. Today I am writing to find out WHERE God wants me and us to be.

Three and a half years ago, we moved halfway across the country. It was a good move. We had all the right reasons: we could have never afforded a house back home, it is expensive to live there. And yet, millions of families just do that! So were we just running away? We, or better me, I got never the feeling God approved nor disapproved of our decision. (Also, I was not that close to Him back then than as I am now!) Everything worked out well, so I guess we had God's blessing on everything. My husband got a good job, we had an apartment first, and then a house - a dream come true! But very soon, we realized what was missing: FAMILY!!!

We used to go over to his parents house all the time. We would spend Sundays there, or at least Sunday night dinners. We would go there to use their pool. We would be around his entire (!) family, including the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, all the time. Yes, my husband's family is very large, on both sides of his parents, so there are a lot of people, and it is always fun to be around them! There were birthday parties, Memorial weekend and Labor weekend celebrations, weddings and funerals, boxing matches and concerts to go to. And we didn't miss any of it.

NOW we are all by ourselves. We miss everything, the celebrations and, yes, also those funerals. Just because there are only so many days of vacation or the airfare is too expensive. Sunday dinners are out, so we are cooking together. Which is great for our marriage.... but our hearts are still bleeding from the lack of family. I am missing family more and more every day! And I kind of feel ready to have us move back, seriously! Sick of feeling 'trapped' without family. It was so nice to always go over there and spend time with everybody. Now we are just missing everything what makes a (big) family. It really sucks! And yes, the occasional babysitter is missed, too, but I am not big on dropping my kids off somewhere, I want to be part of the fun. But an occasional date with my hubby would be nice, or going to the gym more than once a week....

So I am asking God to make it real clear to me WHERE He wants us to be!!! It needs to be very super-clear so I can either start rejoicing, or withdrawing and giving up and conquer and try to be happy where we are and that we have, a house and lots of sun....

11 March 2010

What Do I Want?

I think I mentioned this before, we are doing a Beth Moore bible study at church. I have been pretty bad in doing the homework, but this week's session really spoke to me. So in only 1 1/2 days, I have almost completely finished the homework! (5 days worth!) Oh, it is the book of Esther. And this week's session was on the courage of Esther. Beth Moore said that sometimes "we can protect ourselves right out of our callings". I reckon that is true. I have not learned yet to listen to God.... so I am still waiting for my calling.... or at least I think it is still unknown. At the beginning, we were suppose to share with a friend what we expect of this study: mine was that I want to find out what I am suppose to do with my life, find my purpose and find my calling. Funny that it has come back so soon....

A calling for what God wants you to do can take alot of courage! I am sure that in our life, it will be nothing like for Esther, I mean a matter of life or death. It will be more like moving somewhere that God needs us, or spend all your savings on a business... Well, I have taken the courage to move to a different continent, check! Then I took all my savings, which were not much as I had to support myself through college, and invested it in my family, check! So what's next???

I want to hear from God so badly. I want to know what I am good at? Yes, sadly to say, I don't know.... I am longing for my purpose, for what I am suppose to do. It is almost painful to wait for it.....

Then I did my homework, working on the character of Haman, or rather is lack of character. And I found out that maybe I have done something already....
"Any time God calls us to die, His purpose is to reveal larger life." Check. I was diagnosed with cancer, that was shocking enough. He healed me and I certainly have a different view and perspective on life now. He even gave us another child, something we thought not possible for a long time. He certainly answers prayers!!!

But still, I have the feeling something is missing. I feel my finger tips tingle wanting to do something. My mind aches trying to find what it is.... Of course it doesn't help to see that all my friends around me are more successful than me, having their own business, being younger than me, being more successful in their family, too..... oh the pressure!!! And yes, I know, that pressure is totally self-created! Nobody tells me what a terrible cook I am, WHEN I cook - that is not very often. Nobody tells me what a looser I am not owning my own business. Nobody is telling me what a terrible mother I am when I lose my self-control with a crying baby and stubborn toddler.... oh the pressure!
Then on the other hand, I am asking myself: am I just some copycat seeing that it has worked for others? I mean I started many things in my life: photography, drawing, sewing, scrap booking,... What am I suppose to be? Who am I suppose to be?

So while doing my homework, a thought crossed my mind: "I have a mental preoccupation" and not on myself!!! Just thinking of all the things others have accomplished and what is 'wrong' with me, diminishes my joy of what I have and have accomplished in my life! And that is? I mean I moved to a different country, twice; learned those languages, pretty easily. I supported myself through the college years by myself, and with the help of lots of people that God put in my way to help me. One of my photographs was published in a little known magazine. I was once co-editor and then main editor in our college art magazine. That is a little something, right? I do have some small talents, I guess.... now I just have to figure out what my main talent is and....? I DO WANT GOD's APPROVAL! Is that so wrong? So I pray daily for God to reveal my purpose to me.

10 March 2010

Past due post....

I finally finished a post today that I had started a year ago... There was just too much stuff going on at the time, and still is.... but I managed to get to it now and published it finally. Please click on the link below:

Being Blessed: The pure medical side of it...

08 March 2010

I made an apron!

The thoughts of being able to sew whatever you like is really intriguing. So when I mentioned this to my neighbor, she offered to lend me her machine. So I went out to buy some fabric and started using hers. It took me little while to get used to her machine, but I did it. I made bed sheets for Coqui, a pillow case and even a blanket. In a few years, I will probably be embarrassed by it, but for now it worked great. Because I don't use any patterns, I just started and saw where it brought me and it actually came out pretty good.

So for Christmas, I got my very own sewing machine, from my lovely husband. And I decided that I 'needed' an apron. I kept looking around in stores but never found the 'right' one. Buying the fabric was a little tricky because I wasn't sure what I really wanted. For the pattern, I thought, this time, I need to at least glance at some more professional stuff, so I did. I cut out all the pieces that I thought I needed and then started sewing.

Of course, I can only sew at night when the kiddos are asleep. So it took me a little while. Also I ran into some problems with the machine here and there, that took more time than anticipated. I don't know what happened from working one day and then the next, it would all get tangled. Or it would not sew with the correct tension anymore. One day I gave it another try when Coqui was around. He asked me what I was up to and offered help right away. He got his tools out and went to work, pretending to be Handy Manny. (For those that don't know who he is, he is a cartoon character from a TV show, Spanish and fixes everything in his hometown.)
Here is a picture:

It is so funny, that he looked at a plan first, then tried different ways, even got his flashlight out, just like Handy Manny. At the end, he gave up and told me he couldn't fix it. Oh well. Finally, I sat down last night, and tried a couple of things, WITH the instruction manual. I reloaded the bobbin, and it worked! I was so happy. I could finally finish my apron....
So, here I am - I did it. It is done.

It is not a masterpiece, but will work for now.

Sunday Night Cooking

My husband and I have decided, though I have come up with the idea, that we cook on Sunday evenings together. I have a hard time making dinner during the week, due to various factors. So I figured in order for him to be happy with what is on the table, we should do it together. It gives us quality time together on the day of rest - I have more to say about that, but that it'll come in a different post!

So here is a picture of what we made last night. It's stuffed papers. The recipe comes from my parents. They have made it multiple times for my husband and he has liked it alot, so he wanted to try it himself. Of course, it did not come out perfect, but it was somewhat edible.

He had ground meat in his, and the last one in the corner was mine, stuffed with rice and soy ground 'meat'. Coqui only ate the meat balls that was made out of the leftover ground meat. And Peanut really enjoyed the rice that was added to the sauce.

03 March 2010

This is good news

A friend of mine is pregnant. I know there are many people pregnant out there, so why is this so special?

Well, if you have read any of my previous posts, you will find out that I had lots of problems with fertility. Due to those problems, I used to be very angry and frustrated, sometimes depressed and definitely desperate at times. Every time I learned that someone in my circle of family and friends got pregnant, I started to feel that anger rise inside myself. Questions of why that one and this one, by accident (!), got pregnant. Hurt and pain every time! I questioned God alot on those as well. My faith had just started to build, after being raised as an atheist!!! So it was so fragile anyway. It was not fun times. At all.

Now, as of today, and yesterday, I am done questioning and thanking God for EVERYTHING He has done in my life. It's like a puzzle and the pieces have come together! It feels like God gave me the inside view on [arts of my life: I had to have two miscarriages in order to really appreciate my first born. And I had to have cancer in order to get a gift truly from God! Our Blessing, our second child that we were longing for for such a long time. It all fits together! I am happy.
Any additional child is bonus - even though as of right now, I think I might be done anyway. That, of course, might change within the next half year or year when Peanut gets bigger and less dependent. Also it IS a question of budgeting, not of wanting children anyway...

So why am I so excited about this pregnancy? Well, for the first time in a long time there is no jealousy. I am totally, completely happy for her! I am excited and want to participate, help her out, and maybe plan a baby shower for her.... I declare that I will enjoy her pregnancy! And I am thankful for that. God is good.

02 March 2010

My new hobby

of course: it's blogging.
I started this blog over a year ago. Being very reserved on the fact that if I make my blog available to the whole internet world... I am not so sure about that. So I blogged occasionally. But I certainly read some other blogs. I started out with my friend's blog: . She is way ahead of me writing her blog for a long time. I still haven't read every single post. Then I started branching out or googling some. I found bad ones and I found real good ones. The real good ones got me hooked.... and now I started to blog more myself. I guess I just had to find what I want to write about. Now I have like 6 more articles waiting to be posted in the next few days, because I can't stop thinking about it....

I am totally hooked!

Now I just have to open up more and invite more readers. It just makes me feel so vulnerable... I don't know.... does anybody feel the same way?

How and why I became a Free-gan

Well, I am sure, first of all you might wonder what a free-gan is. I heard the term a while ago and it is really what I am, rather than the Vegan that I called myself. I goggled the word and found quite alot of definitions AND they have nothing to do with what I heard and would think I AM ABOUT..... The word's meaning comes simply from being a Vegan with a more free attitude to the food that I consume. Which is mostly from the Vegan diet, but occasionally I am 'cheating' - but I don't like the bad taste of the word cheating. I chose to become Vegan exclusively for my own health, not for animals rights or something. I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't like animals to suffer and the thoughts of animals being used for testing kind of irritates me, but I am not saying they are not suppose to be killed for consumption. I do believe that God gave us the animals for that reason.

So what am I saying after all this? I am a Vegan that eats mostly Vegan food. But after trying to follow it strictly, I decided that I want to add some stuff that I enjoy. For instance, I am eating fish. I started loving fish when I became a vegetarian. The reason for that was simply health reasons (after the cancer) and my taste. I just don't like meats. So I was a pesci-vegetarian.

The definition for Veganism (also known as strict vegetarianism or pure vegetarianism), as defined by the Vegan Society, is "a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose." So for those possible and practical reasons, I reintroduced some foods that I find beneficial for my health. Including fish. The fat is so healthy and it makes me feel good when I eat it. SO I figured why not? It was my personal choice in the first place, so I am free to chose what I do with it on the long-run.
Then there are those times when I crave something, like from my childhood, and why should I not satisfy my hunger for it? I try to limit it as much as possible. But life is supposed to be enjoyed, also with food.

01 March 2010

Finally a Vegan cake recipe that I like

... and it's so easy! Where has it been so long?
I've tried a number of cookie recipe but they all came out flat and way too crisp. So I had given up on baking for a little while. But because we had to celebrate so many half-birthdays this month, I had to bake. Usually I make a box cake - because Coqui can help me. You know, just add the water, the oil and the eggs and mix....

Well, so I asked my neighbor, who is Vegan, if she had some easy recipes. And there is a story to it too. She just told me that the original recipe was called 'goofy cake' and comes from the depression times when things like milk and eggs where expensive. So they had to improvise with things that were available to them at the time. As so happens, all those things are Vegan....

Here is the recipe:

(bake for 350*F for 30-35 min.)

1 1/2 cup flour (1 cup white + 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1 cup dehydrated sugar cane juice AKA sugar (preferably the healthiest you have)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

combine separately, then add to above mixture:
1 cup warm water
5 tablespoon oil (subbing with apple sauce!!! - but makes it rubbery)
so the best: 2 T oil + 3 T apple sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (but any vinegar works)
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

pour batter into an 8x8 glass baking dish
bake for 30-35 min. (check if toothpick pulls clean)

You can add anything you want! Really. I tried nuts, fruits, apples, even raisins or whatever you like....